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Nocerra Umbra and Castelnuovo di Porto, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1596-1640


Nocerra In Appennino monte [on sheet with] Castel Novo.

€420  ($508.2 / £369.6)
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Item Number:  12901
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Italy - Cities

Old map with two views by Braun and Hogenberg: Nocerra Umbra and Castelnuovo di Porto; after G. Hoefnagel, 1577.


COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Nocera Umbra is a small town in Umbria at the foot of Monte Pennino, which Strabo called Nuceriam and which is famous for its wooden barrels [...]. At the foot of the mountain on which Nocera lies, the River Topino flows towards Foligno through a valley which is consequently called the Topinian Valley. On the banks of the river one can still see many ruined houses and the foundations of large buildings that were erected there by the Romans to guard the Via Flaminia."

The view shows Nocera Umbra situated on a ridge in a mountainous landscape north of Foligno. Rising at the highest point of the well-fortified town are the cathedral and the 14th-century Campanaccio tower, formely part of the Trinci fortress. Prominent on the right is the church of San Francesco, today home to the Nocera Umbra museum of art. In Roman times the town was known as Nuceria Camellaria and was of considerable importance due to its position on the Via Flaminia. In the 5th century AD Nocera became a bishopric and formed part of the Papal States right up until Italian Unification. Having been decimated on multiple occasions by the Goths, Lombards and in the 13th century by Emperor Frederick II, the town was rebuilt from the mid-15th century. Sadly, in September 1997, the historical centre of Nocera Umbra was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake.


COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Castelnuovo is a small town in the Apennine Mountains on the road leading toward Rome. The inhabitants are industrious and experienced in the wool, wine and oil trade. For Castelnuovo lies on fertile soil that yields grain, wine, oil and all the other necessities of life. It lies 12 miles from Rome on the Via Flaminia. [...] On the same road one can see the town of Castellana high up on a cliff [...] on the left lies Monte Soratte, which Cato, Virgil and Strabo call mons Soracte, but which is today known as St Sylverster's Mount; because Pope Sylvester fled there for fear of Emperor Constantine."

In the foreground Braun and Hoefnagel are travelling by horse and carriage along the ancient Via Flaminia from Nocera Umbra in the direction of Rome, past the towns of Castelnuovo di Porto, Cività Castellana (ancient capital of the Falisci) and Monte Soratte. Behind the ramparts, the magnificent 15th-century Palazzo Ducale dominates the town centre. Rising proudly to the right is the bell tower belonging to the collegiate church of S. Maria Assunta. The "castrum novum" is first mentioned in records in 1074 as a benefice of the patriarchal basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. Castelnuovo acquired its epithet "di Porto" when it belonged to the diocese of Porto. According to legend Emperor Constantine sought out Pope Sylvester (d. 31 December 335), who had taken refuge on Mount Soracte, and upon receiving his Christian baptism was cured of leprosy. This episode was related in the so-called Donation of Constantine, a document proved to be a forgery by Lorenzo Valla as early as the 15th century. From the 12th to the 16th century, with some interruptions, Castelnuovo di Porto belonged to the Roman Colonna family; in 1539, after financial difficulties, it was acquired for the Camera Apostolica by Pope Paul III. (Taschen)

Copper engraving
Size: 36.5 x 48cm (14.2 x 18.7 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Old coloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.425.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, ... Part 5. Köln, 1598.